Ask the pilot

We have a winner! The pilot reveals the answers to his reader quiz. Who knew Satchel Paige flew his own airplane?

Published May 30, 2003 7:30PM (EDT)

Congrats to Courtney Shiley, winner of the May 16 quiz with a perfect score. And what's this? She resides not in Australia or Amsterdam like the runners-up, but in Medford, Mass., barely a three-block walk from the rundown apartment of Patrick Smith, who, according to her answer to No. 13, is her favorite Salon columnist.

This will make it much easier for Shiley to collect her prize -- the "dream date" dinner with yours truly at the airport restaurant of her choosing. But rather than schlep out to Logan, I'm willing to meet Shiley right here in beautiful Davis Square, saving me the cost of a subway token.

Quiz answers

1) What famous piece of music accompanied United Airlines' television commercials during much of the 1990s?

Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"

2) What is the aerodynamic name for the upward canting of a jetliner's wings?

Dihedral (the Soviets, by the way, often preferred their own, downward angled wings and called it "anhedral")

3) The title of what 1983 Hüsker Dü record was depicted on a greasy T-shirt I once owned?

Metal Circus

4) What was the name of the KLM 747 that crashed at Tenerife in 1977 as part of the worst-ever aviation accident?

The Rhine

5) Which West African city -- and airport -- did I visit in November 2002?

Timbuktu, Mali

6) The pinkish liquid used to de-ice airplanes is a mixture of what liquids?

Glycol and water

7) The Pilot once destroyed the lavatory aboard what type of airplane?

A Douglas DC-8. Here is a picture of the exact plane.

8) What is the name of my ex-girlfriend who became seasick in the Greek Islands in 1992?


9) What airliners are depicted in Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Decalog," Part IV?

A LOT (Polish Airlines) Tupolev TU-154 and Ilyushin IL-18

10) What is the registration number (or letters) depicted on the die-cast replica of the Air India 747 I purchased in March 2003?


11) In one sentence, why are you asked to raise your window shades during takeoff and landing?

So you will remain oriented and can see exterior hazards in the event of an accident.

12) In one sentence, what is wind shear?

A sudden change in the velocity and/or direction of the wind.

13) In once sentence, tell me I'm your favorite Salon columnist.

You know you love me.

14) Architect Eero Saarinen designed terminals at what two airports?

The TWA building at John F. Kennedy International, and the central terminal at Washington Dulles

15) Who wrote "Poem for Karl Wallenda -- Aerialist Supreme"?

Raymond Carver

16) The captain of American Airlines Flight 11 was not only a pilot, but also a farmer who did philanthropic work among the immigrant Cambodian community of New England. What was his name?

John Ogonowski

17) What foods should you not pack in your luggage, as the scanning machines at airports can mistake them for explosives?

Cake and cheese (Specifically, "cheddar logs and fruitcake")

18) Five airplanes were seized by terrorists in the Black September hijackings of 1970. Name the five airlines whose planes were involved.

BOAC, El Al, Pan Am, Swissair and TWA

19) Getachew, Abera, and Theodros are pilots for what airline?

Ethiopian Airlines

20) What famous baseball player once flew his own airplane -- decorated with his name -- from game to game in the 1940s?

Satchel Paige

Ten-point bonus question: In the movie "Dog Day Afternoon" Al Pacino is captured and handcuffed in a scene that unfolds at Kennedy Airport. In the background is a noisily idling jetliner, which Pacino thought would be his getaway plane. Name it -- both the airline and the model.

The airline was Modern Air, a real life charter carrier around at the time. The plane was a Convair CV-990, a now-extinct four-engine jet.

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Do you have questions for Salon's aviation expert? Send them to AskThePilot and look for answers in a future column.

By Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is an airline pilot.

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